ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Rain escaped the Orlando area just in time for the UCF football team to hold its final open practice of the preseason on the outdoor fields, as well as FanFest inside Bright House Networks Stadium Saturday. This year's crowd was once again very large as fans took pictures with their favorite Knights and got autographs from the entire team.
Before FanFest got underway, UCF conducted a scrimmage on the West practice field and the sidelines were packed with spectators. The Black and Gold opened with individual drills and special teams work, then sent the first-team offense out against the third-team defense. The Blake Bortles to J.J. Worton connection wasted little time in developing as Worton hauled in an 11-yard catch on the first drive. Eventually the second-team defense entered, and running back Storm Johnson would have close to 50 rushing yards on the drive, which was capped off by a 6-yard touchdown pass to fullback Billy Giovanetti on third down.
The defense would quickly turn it up following the first drive as the offense failed to produce points in its next seven attempts. During that span, Thomas Niles and Victor Gray each notched a sack, David Nelson and Jamar McClain both posted break-ups and Nicco Whigham also had two nice plays in the secondary.
UCF's offense got back in the endzone when Tyler Gabbert found Josh Reese on a 60-yard touchdown strike after linebacker Troy Gray stuffed the run and fellow linebacker Mark Rucker had a break-up. The Knights would begin to start drives at midfield and Johnson delivered a 22 yard run to set up a 2 yard touchdown effort to finish the drive. Rob Calabrese also had a short touchdown run later in the afternoon. To complete the scrimmage, three placekickers entered to try 47 yard field goals, and Rodrigo Quirarte went 3-for-3 in his attempts.
The Knights then changed into their gold uniforms for their team photo, and fans were able to jump into the shot as well. The fan photo will be made available for purchase on UCFPhotos.com in the coming days.
When that wrapped up, FanFest was underway on the concourse as the lines to get autographs and pictures of players and head coach George O'Leary were impressive yet again.
UCF football season tickets are currently available for as low as $140, while single-game tickets and flex plans are also on sale. For more information and to place an order, call the UCF Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000 or visit UCFAthletics.com. Attending a UCF football game is a great way to celebrate birthdays, corporate outings or any special occasion. Please ask about group packages today.